I just returned from a week at Centrifuge Youth Camp and the experience has incited many thoughts in my little pea brain.  One of those areas of interest has to do with the music that we use in our public worship.  The worship leader for the week was Randy Sutherland, and I was truly impressed by his attitude toward worship.  His selection of songs was deliberate and appropriate.  I was able to talk with him at length about worship, as I participated in a workshop he led that dealt with worship leadership.  When I went into that session, I had some pre-concieved notions about a “worship leader’s” ideas about worship.  I personally disdain the use of the term “worship leader” for the song leader, because it implies that only the music part of the service is actual worship.  Randy put my mind at ease right away when he told us that music is only a small part of true worship.  He took us to several passages in the Scriptures to form a foundation of an understanding of worship. 

Public worship at First Baptist, Dunkerton uses a blend of contemporary and traditional music stlyes.  I couldn’t help but notice that at least one of the “praise” songs we sang this past Sunday was pretty weak, theologically speaking.  It seems to me that we tend to select songs with a catchy tune rather than songs that declare the wonders of our God and Savior.  Some folks are vocal about wanting to sing more of the old hymns, and others really want to go all the way and use only contemporary music.  I’m old enough to appreciate the grand old hymns of the faith, but I also am a child of rock and roll, so I like the contmeporary as well.  I am becoming convinced that as pastor, I need to take a more active role in planning the music we use in our worship services, because I need to train the music team to think more towards the worship of God instead of personal preferences. 

Josh Martin is a good friend of mine, and a truly godly young man who happens also to be a fine musician.  In his blog, he has written a great article on this subject.  Here is an exerpt.

What makes us worship music instead of having music for worship?  I think there are many reasons but here is just one.  Preferences to style can come from self-centeredness and self-exaltation.  Let’s be honest, don’t we usually want to sing the styles that WE like.  That is self-centered.  Self-centeredness always leads to self-exaltation.  You are driven by your desires in order to make much of yourself.  I don’t think that there is one style of music that can be labeled “God’s Music”.  But there is one kind of music that exalts God.

J. Ligon Duncan once wrote, “As the Bible is the final authority in faith and life, so it is also the final authority in how we corporately worship.”  That is what will comprise worship music and keep us from music worship.  I believe that the kind of music that pleases God has very little to do with style.  I think it very much has to do with content.  And that content must fix out thoughts on Him.

With all that said, while there are some very shallow songs in modern music, there are some modern writers out there that are putting together some pretty great songs.  Does God want to hear the organ or the guitar?  I think he wants to hear his church sing and see his people moved by seeing more of him.  (You can read the entire article by clicking here.)

True worship is not about humanity.  True worship is all about giving glory to God.  True worship is not just music.  True worship is what goes on in our hearts and minds and lives in response to God in His sovereign majesty.  True worship is a life transformed by knowing the One, True, Living God.